"The Ghost of Harrenhal" is the fifth episode of the second season of Game of Thrones. It is the fifteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 29, 2012. It was written by executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by David Petrarca.
Confusion rages in the Stormlands in the wake of a devastating reversal. Catelyn must flee with a new ally, whilst Littlefinger sees an opportunity in the chaos. Theon seeks to prove himself to his father in battle. Arya receives a promise from the enigmatic Jaqen H'ghar. The Night's Watch arrives at the Fist of the First Men. Daenerys Targaryen receives a marriage proposal.
In the Seven Kingdoms
King Renly Baratheon is assassinated by the Shadow brought into the world by Melisandre just after agreeing to an alliance with King Robb Stark. His kingsguard Brienne is mistakenly blamed for the death and she flees the camp with Catelyn Stark. Brienne later swears fealty to Catelyn. Renly's army disintegrates, with the forces of House Tyrell fleeing to Highgarden and the rest of his bannermen joining his brother King Stannis Baratheon. Lord Petyr Baelish accompanies the Tyrell faction, sensing an opportunity to sway them to Joffrey's side. Ser Davos Seaworth challenges King Stannis on his use of Melisandre's magic and convinces him to leave Melisandre behind when they attack King's Landing to quash rumors of her influence on him. Stannis places Davos in command of his fleet.
Hand of the King Tyrion Lannister brings news of Renly's death to his sister, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. She is pleased, but Tyrion predicts Stannis' imminent attack. He tries to discuss plans for their defense, but she insists on keeping them secret. From his spy, his cousin Ser Lancel Lannister, Tyrion learns that Cersei has been having extensive meetings with the Alchemists' Guild. He visits Wisdom Hallyne of the guild and learns that they have stockpiled thousands of jars of Wildfire, a dangerously flammable substance, to use as catapult ammunition. Bronn sees this strategy as potentially disastrous, because of the volatile nature of wildfire. Tyrion orders Hallyne to answer to him instead of Cersei. Tyrion also passes a street protest that blames him for the ills of the city, as they believe Tyrion to be manipulating Joffrey.
Theon Greyjoy takes command of his new ship and finds his crew insubordinate. His first mate Dagmer Cleftjaw tells him that he needs to prove himself to the men and Theon plans to raid Torrhen's Square to draw the remaining forces of House Stark from Winterfell. His plan is successful and Ser Rodrik Cassel leads a force of 200 men to relieve his siege of Torrhen's Square. Bran Stark provides well judged counsel to his subjects but continues to be troubled by his dreams. He discusses dreaming of a three-eyed raven with the wildling woman Osha but she declines to interpret the dream. He also confides dreaming of the sea flooding Winterfell and drowning his people, including Ser Rodrik.
Tywin Lannister hosts a protracted war council to determine a new strategy to deal with Robb. His captive Arya Stark serves as his cupbearer. He realizes that she is of northern extraction and questions her about her origins and opinions regarding Robb. She manages to avoid revealing her true identity. She leaves to fetch water and encounters Jaqen H'ghar, now a Lannister man-at-arms. Jaqen says that because she saved his life, and those of his two fellow prisoners, he owes her three deaths and offers to kill three people of her choosing. She targets the Tickler, Ser Gregor Clegane's torturer.
The Tickler is soon found dead in the courtyard, his neck twisted 180 degrees. Arya notices Jaqen on the walkway above and he holds a single finger to his face to signify his responsibility.
Beyond the Wall
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont leads his ranging to the ancient Fist of the First Men to rendezvous with the experienced scout Qhorin Halfhand. Qhorin arrives and warns Jeor that they must change their tactics to combat the wildling army under King Mance Rayder. He suggests sending a small party ahead to neutralize Mance's lookouts in the Skirling Pass. Jon Snow joins Qhorin's group.
Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen has taught her dragons to breathe fire on command and they are now capable of searing and eating meat on their own. She is enjoying the hospitality of the wealthy noble Xaro Xhoan Daxos. He hosts a gathering in her honor in the gardens of his home. She is perturbed by the tricks of the warlock Pyat Pree, who invites her to visit the House of the Undying.
The masked woman Quaithe delivers an enigmatic warning to Ser Jorah Mormont about Daenerys's need for protection from those who lust after her dragons. Xaro offers to fund Daenerys's invasion of Westeros in exchange for her hand in marriage. Later, she seeks Jorah's advice about the proposal and he cautions against accepting financial aid. He suggests that she will be able to win her throne should she reach Westeros with just a single ship. He reveals his depth of feeling for her but she does not reciprocate.
A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.
- The episode covers material from chapters 21, 28, 31, 34-38, 40, 43 and 44 (Tyrion 5, Daenerys 2, Arya 7, Catelyn 4, Jon 4, Bran 5, Tyrion 8, Theon 3, Catelyn 5, Davos 2, and Jon 5) of A Clash of Kings.
- In the novel A Clash of Kings a series of murders at Harrenhal perpetrated by Jaqen H'ghar are attributed to a ghost. The episode features the murder of the Tickler by Jaqen at Arya Stark's request.
- This episode marks the death of King Renly Baratheon.
- The night this episode aired, actor Finn Jones (who plays Renly's lover, Ser Loras Tyrell) posted to his Twitter account, "When the sun has set, no candle can replace it." This is actually a famous quote that Loras gives later in the book series.
- Renly's death reduces the number of factions in the war to four: Joffrey Baratheon, Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Stannis Baratheon. Of course, due to geography if not ideology, Stannis isn't actively fighting Robb, because they're on opposite sides of the Lannisters' position in the middle of the continent.
- This only includes the factions that are currently fighting each other in open warfare. House Tyrell, House Martell, and House Arryn are still active players in the ongoing political machinations of Westeros, i.e. Margaery Tyrell in this episode.
- Daenerys says "Dracarys" to Drogon, the young dragon, to encourage him to breathe fire. Dracarys (pronounced "drah-KAH-ris") is the High Valyrian word for dragonfire.
- When Renly is meeting with Catelyn Stark, he says that the oath of fealty he wants Robb to swear will be the same one that Eddard Stark swore to Robert Baratheon "eighteen years ago". In Season 1, the events of Robert's Rebellion were consistently said to have occurred seventeen years ago. This reflects the passage of time by Season 2.
- Bronn refers to what Joffrey did to the "birthday present" that Tyrion sent him (which occurred in the preceding episode). In the culture of the Seven Kingdoms, people actually use the term "nameday", not "birthday", because babies are named on the day they are born. "Nameday" has been consistently used on-screen throughout Season 1 and Season 2. This may have just been a dialogue error by the actor.
- Wisdom Hallyne, the head of the Alchemists' Guild, is played by Roy Dotrice, who narrated the audiobook versions of all five novels currently in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (and thus in a sense is "reprising" his role as Hallyne). Roy Dotrice was originally supposed to play the role of Grand Maester Pycelle.
- Emmon Cuy
- Robar Royce
- Reginald Lannister
- Wisdom Hallyne
- Qhorin Halfhand
- Only 17 of the 25 starring cast members for the second season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Conleth Hill (Varys), Sibel Kekilli (Shae), Richard Madden (Robb Stark), Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Carice van Houten (Melisandre), and are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- John Bradley is credited ahead of Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Maisie Williams and Jerome Flynn when he was credited after them when they last appeared together in "What is Dead May Never Die."
- John Bradley is credited ahead of Stephen Dillane when he was credited after him when they last appeared together in "The Night Lands."
In the books
The episode covers material from A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, book 2 and 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire. The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Clash of Kings:
- Chapter 21, Tyrion V
- Chapter 27, Arya VI
- Chapter 28, Daenerys II
- Chapter 29, Bran IV
- Chapter 34, Catelyn IV
- Chapter 35, Jon IV
- Chapter 36, Bran V
- Chapter 37, Tyrion VIII
- Chapter 38, Theon III
- Chapter 40, Catelyn V
- Chapter 43, Davos II
- Chapter 44, Jon IV
- Chapter 59, Davos III
The episode is adapted from the following chapter of A Storm of Swords:
- Chapter 7, Daenerys I
- Margaery Tyrell's reaction to Renly's death is not depicted "on screen" in the books. In fact, she's not even in Renly's camp in the Stormlands but at Bitterbridge with the full strength of House Tyrell. In the TV version, she is shown calmly calculating the next move that House Tyrell is going to make in the war.
- Most of the houses from the Stormlands have now sworn fealty to Stannis, with the "exception" of House Tyrell (and the Houses from the Reach that it rules over). Renly's army consisting of the combined strength of the Stormlands and the Reach numbered 100,000. The Reach, which House Tyrell rules over, can normally raise about twice as many soldiers as any other region of the Seven Kingdoms. The "exception" of House Tyrell is actually two thirds of the massive force that Renly had assembled: roughly 30,000 have now gone over to Stannis, but another roughly 70,000 under the Tyrells have not.
- Abandoning the original orders to raid fishing villages to make a daring raid on Torrhen's Square was Theon's idea, not Dagmer Cleftjaw's. In the TV series, Dagmer suggests it to Theon as specifically the kind of action that would finally get his men to treat him as a leader among the Ironborn. In a sense, this depicts Theon as somewhat less conniving and instead emphasizes that he was being pressured into turning against the Starks.
- The ranging force of the Night's Watch does not consist of 400 men as Qhorin mentioned, but 300 men, 200 from Castle Black and 100 from Shadow Tower.
- Stannis Baratheon doesn't give command of his fleet to Davos Seaworth after gaining Renly's bannermen. Instead, he gave it to his brother-in-law Imry Florent.
- As previously announced, much of the Qarth storyline for Daenerys has been expanded upon in the TV series due to its relative brevity in the second book, A Clash of Kings, which focused more on events in Westeros itself.
- Daenerys initially cannot feed her dragons because they refuse to eat raw meat, until she remembers a phrase that her brother Viserys repeated once, that only men and dragons eat roasted meat. The idea is that the mother dragon would roast meat from kills with her own fire-breath before giving it to her hatchlings.
|Game of Thrones Season 2|
|#01 "The North Remembers"||#06 "The Old Gods and the New"|
|#02 "The Night Lands"||#07 "A Man Without Honor"|
|#03 "What is Dead May Never Die"||#08 "The Prince of Winterfell"|
|#04 "Garden of Bones"||#09 "Blackwater"|
|#05 "The Ghost of Harrenhal"||#10 "Valar Morghulis"|